The following e-mail message was distributed campus-wide today:
March 4, 2009
To the University Community:
In 1991, UT Arlington implemented the current Smoke Free Procedure for Campus Facilities policy. This policy, which was pioneering at the time, curtailed smoking both inside campus buildings and designated outdoor smoking areas.
Since then, research continues to show that the use of cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and tobacco use in general — including breathing in second-hand smoke — constitutes a significant health hazard. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency has classified tobacco smoke as a Group A carcinogen since 1990. Additionally, research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in 2003 confirmed that approximately 438,000 people died annually of diseases caused by smoking (one out of every five deaths). The CDC also estimates that each year more than 62,000 deaths from coronary heart disease among nonsmokers are due to exposure to second-hand smoke.
In addition to causing health-related illnesses, the use of tobacco products contributes to institutional costs in other ways, including fire damage; cleaning and maintenance costs; and costs associated with employee and student absenteeism, health care, and medical insurance.
The University is fully committed to supporting an effective, positive, and healthy learning and working environment for all members of our community, including visitors to our campus. Across the country, numerous institutions and organizations have taken additional measures to create environments that are fully tobacco free.
Certainly, a move to a fully tobacco-free campus would require the support and engagement of the entire University community. In order to best assess the views of our students, faculty, and staff, a survey has been developed by the committee and is available at http://studentvoice.com/uta/smokefree09. The survey is open through March 13, 2009. We encourage your participation in the survey.
In addition, open campus forums will be held throughout March and April to provide the opportunity for individuals to share their viewpoint. The dates and locations for these forums will be made available soon on the web site, Messenger and MavMail e-newsletters.
I hope you will take the time to share your thoughts with us on this important issue. We hope to have a recommendation ready for the president no later than the end of this semester.
Vice President for Human Resources
Chair, Tobacco Free Campus Initiative
Jeremy Roden, Campus Recreation; Ed Guida, Environment Health & Safety
Jay Horn, International Office; Robert Blum, Health Services
Frank Lamas, Student Affairs; Robert James, Human Resources
Eddie Freeman, Equal Opportunity Services; Dylan Clifford, Human Resources
Bob Hayes, Police Department; Eunice Currie, Human Resources
Amber Zuckerman, Institutional Compliance; Victoria Hartman, Nursing
Lisa Nagy, Student Affairs; Houda El Fakir, Student; Jamie Johnson, Student